Category - Thunder News

Nick Collison retires

We knew this day was coming. Nick Collison has officially announced his retirement from the the Thunder and the NBA.

“I got to stay here a long time, but now it’s time to go.” Collison said via ESPN.

A staple within the Oklahoma City organization throughout his time here. Collison is one of two players who have spent their entire careers with the Oklahoma City Thunder. He was given the nickname “Mr. Thunder.”

Sometimes, in the early phases of an organization’s life cycle, the right player ‎comes around at the right time to help define their vision,” Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager, Sam Presti said.

Collison, 37, a hard nosed worker who never complained about playing time or the transition of the team as players came and went. He was the epitome of those who lived in this great state.

Collison retires after 14 seasons, playing for six different head coaches and two different teams but really one franchise. In 910 games, Collison averaged 5.9 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. He’ll go down in the top 10 lists throughout the franchise: third in games played; ninth in minutes played; third in offensive rebounds; sixth in defensive rebounds; fourth in total rebounds; second in personal fouls; sixth in blocks and fifth in field goal shooting.

He’ll go down playing with tons of Hall of Famers from Ray Allen to Russell Westbrook. He’s played in 54 playoff games. He’s bled his literal blood all over the court. He’s a large reason why players like Serge Ibaka and Nick Collison helped develop into the studs they are today.

While Collison only appeared in a handful of games over the last two seasons, his presence was felt through the vibrations he sent from the bench.

There’s really two faces who will go on the Oklahoma City Mount Rushmore. Russell Westbrook and Nick Collison. While Westbrook’s is more of on court accolades, what Collison did off the court goes beyond numbers. For that, all of Oklahoma City is thankful for having the pure luck and ability to see this man give it 100 percent for 10 years.

“I won’t get to feel that fire or that rush anymore, but I do get to keep the memories, the stories and the relationships. That’s what I will cherish the most.” Collison said. “Things worked out for me.”

The fanbase will cherish Collison as much as he cherished his time in the NBA. Many feel he deserves the No. 4 to hang from the rafters.

For now, go enjoy retirement, Mr. Thunder.

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Billy Donovan to return as head coach

It was pretty understood but there was still some debate. However, Thunder general manager Sam Presti shot down any notion of a coaching change as he said Billy Donovan would return as head coach for the 2018-19 season.

When asked if Donovan would return as head coach, it was just a one word answer: Yes.

“With respect to Billy,” Presti said. “One of the things that I’m most excited about and excited for him about going forward is the fact that if fortunate enough, he’ll be able to work with the same core of a team that, as I said before, has a baseline that we’ve established, but has some controllable areas we need to improve.”

Donovan is 150-96 in his three years at the Thunder helm, sixth best in the NBA during his tenure.

“After coming here from college,” Presti said. “He [Donovan] had us within two minutes of going to the NBA Finals.”

Despite returning, Presti admitted being disappointed in the season’s end result. Especially with all of the trades and expectations. Injuries, among other things, led to the first round exit this season. Presti hopes Donovan will have the same core for the first time in his tenure for the following season.

A bunch of that is going to rely on the choice made by Paul George. If he returns, Oklahoma City’s foundation will return. If he heads elsewhere, the Thunder will have to try and find another one to add and try to stay relevant.

“He’s done a good job of playing the cards he’s been dealt and making sure we have the sets, giving us the defensive schemes we need to succeed,” Russell Westbrook on Donovan.

Oklahoma City would look to get back to the mountain top of the Western Conference next season and that will be led by Donovan.

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Jazz 96, Thunder 91: What they said after Game 6

In another wild game in what has been an insane series, the Utah Jazz were able to hold off a surging Oklahoma City Thunder to take the first round series and advance to the conference semifinals. Utah won the series 4-2.

Russell Westbrook had to do a lot by himself offensively, as Carmelo Anthony and Paul George were nonexistent scoring-wise. Russell finished with 46 points, hitting 18 of his 43 shot attempts. Without Westbrook going into the mode that he did, Oklahoma City would have been absolutely blown out.

Donovan Mitchell was phenomenal for Utah, and helped them a ton when Rubio went out of the game early with an injury. Mitchell finished with 38 points, 22 of those in the third quarter.

After a very active offseason in 2017 and having high expectations, the Thunder will now go home early in the postseason with a lot left unaccomplished.

Here are some key quotes from tonight’s wild game six:

Oklahoma City’s Billy Donovan:

“I thought our guys came in and competed, we battled. I think if you look at the six games that both teams have played in, there have been incredible runs in both directions.”

“We gave ourselves a chance and an opportunity. It has been a great group to work with, I really really appreciate all these guys, and what I really appreciate is when you bring a new group of people together, you never know how it’s going to be in the lockerroom and how guys are going to get along. Those guys did a great job. I think there is great optimism and hope, in my opinion, of what the team could end up being going forward, because I think there is a great opportunity for us to learn and grow from this and get better from it. So, we are disappointed our season has come to an end, but we give a lot of credit to the Jazz and how they played here today.”

Utah’s Quin Snyder:

“I think other people are finding out, stuff that we’ve known. Alec Burks is probably the best example of that tonight. A guy that, we’ve said, that all year long whether it is an injury or a game or foul trouble, we have had guys step up. That’s been what these guys are about, and Alec was that guy tonight. Found himself a situation, that he didn’t envision, at shoot-around today. He stayed ready….You saw tonight as good as example as you can have of a guy that was able to do that, and we don’t win that game without Alec. There’s no question about it. He is a reflection of what our whole group has been about all year.”

Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook:

Every night I play, man. I leave it on the floor. I continue to say this every time I play, I’m not saying it for my health, that is just how I play. Regardless of win, lose or draw, I leave it on the floor, everything I have. Sometimes you come up short, sometimes you win. That’s my job, to bring my energy, aggressively for my team and that is what I do.”

“I don’t confront fans. Fans confront me. Here in Utah a lot of disrespectful things are said to the players. Truly disrespectful, talking about families and kids. I’m tired of going out and playing and fans saying whatever they want to say.. I’m not with that. If I was on the street, they wouldn’t come up and say that. I don’t play that shit. I think it’s just disrespectful they can do whatever they want to do. Especially in Utah.”

Oklahoma City’s Paul George:

“It is our first year playing together. I knew that coming here. High expectations to win. I think you have to figure out the in between stuff. It takes time to become a championship team.”

“It is too soon. I would love to remain a Thunder, but that’s what the summer’s for.”

“[Russell]’s unbelievable. Amazing. A stand up guy. Its not cliché, people say he’s an amazing player and amazing person. That’s truly how you can describe Russ. He’s one of the best teammates by far. Just learned a lot. He’s an unbelievable person.”

Utah’s Donovan Mitchell:

“Man, I don’t think words can really describe it. [Thunder] are a great team, they play with heart and passion, but the way we play together, we weathered the storm when they came out hot early. We stuck together that’s been our motto all year. To beat a team like that, says a lot.”

Utah’s Joe Ingles:

“It was a fun game, we obviously did not want to go back to [Oklahoma City], we wanted to finish it in front of our home fans. It is going to take a little while to wind down after that tonight. It’s a quick turnaround for Houston, and we will figure out what we got to do for that series. But obviously, tonight, is something we want to enjoy together. We’ve been a great team all year, sticking through the ups and downs, and tonight was just an example of that.”

 

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Thunder 107, Jazz 99: What they said after Game 5

The Oklahoma City Thunder completed one of the biggest NBA comebacks in playoff history in Game 5, rallying back to beat the Utah Jazz 107-99. It was the fourth largest comeback in NBA playoff history, and the actual largest comeback in Thunder franchise history.

The Jazz own a 3-2 series lead.

Oklahoma City looked dead in the water, beginning late in the second quarter, and came out absolutely flat early in the second half. The Jazz were clicking on all cylinders, especially with their outside shooting.

Then, midway through the third, Russell Westbrook and Paul George went totally bonkers, combining for 79 total points on the night.

Oklahoma City ended up outscoring Utah 66-43 in the second half.

Here are some key quotes from the teams on Game 5:

Utah’s Quin Snyder:

“Then Rudy went out, and we were fighting it, but we didn’t execute as well as we needed to offensively against the [defensive] switch. Got some good looks, missed them, and then the biggest thing is 37 points in the third quarter. Just let [Thunder] back in the game, and they had confidence and life, we did not do what we needed to do.”

Utah’s Donovan Mitchell:

“We stopped playing defense. We stopped getting back, and our offense got stagnant. They made adjustments, and we did not make the right adjustments back. We’ll watch the film and figure out what went wrong. But from my analysis we just stopped getting back.”

Utah’s Rudy Gobert:

“I got in foul trouble early in the game. Had a few stupid fouls that were on me, and had a fourth foul that was invisible. That was on me, I have to be smarter with three fouls and don’t put my teammates in that position.”

Utah’s Jae Crowder:

“I mean they made an adjustment, and we didn’t continue to get shots for our unit. Not just for me but for our team. They continued to go on a run, and we didn’t get looks that we wanted to get down the stretch. They made an adjustment, we didn’t make adjustments on the fly, and it cost us the game.”

Oklahoma City’s Billy Donovan:

“It took a lot of toughness, a lot of resiliency, especially being down 3-1. To keep fighting, to find a way, at the end of the third, to be right there at the end of the game. Give them a lot of credit, we are excited about another opportunity to play, and extend the series. We will have to play a lot better than we did in the first half and we’re going to need a lot more in 48 minutes like we did in the second half.”

Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook:

“We just know it is one game at a time. In the playoffs, you got to win on the road if you want to win the series. So, we know what we have to do. Got to go in there and take care of business.”

“Definitely, man, our guys fight all season long. Tonight is one of those nights where our crowd, everyone here in Oklahoma was behind us. We needed every bit of it tonight. Our guys stepped up and made big plays.”

Oklahoma City’s Jerami Grant:

“We always had the capability, we always have the capability of coming back from whatever, with a lot of fire power with [Paul George], Carmelo, and Russ. It was just do or die, and we had a sense of urgency.”

“The crowd was amazing. We fed off their energy and they fed off ours. It was definitely a plus to play here in front of these great fans.”

Oklahoma City’s Raymond Felton:

“I have no words for it. I’ve been in the league 13 years and one of the most amazing games I’ve ever been a part of.”

Up next: Game 6 back in Salt Lake City on Friday at 9:30 p.m. Thunder time on ESPN.

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Russell Westbrook fined, given tech for altercation

After a review by the NBA, Russell Westbrook has been given a 10,000 dollar fine and assessed a technical foul for the incident with Rudy Gobert during the fourth quarter of Game 4.

Westbrook would not be receiving postgame discipline for this, however, he was possibly facing a suspension for not being in the game when he and Gobert got into a tiny scrum. Russell was at the scorer’s table checking in right before the confrontation.

It is not clear whether Westbrook was officially checked back in the game, so this is a bit of a repercussion from the league. All things considered, it is a sigh of relief considering it could be detrimental to the Thunder if Westbrook was suspended for game 5, as Oklahoma City faces elimination.

The league seemingly decided that Westbrook did not leave the bench to get into the confrontation, so no suspension was needed.

It was a rough game 4 all around for Westbrook, who came out super aggressive on Ricky Rubio, causing him to get into some unnecessary foul trouble. Emotions boiled over for Westbrook and other Thunder players, as there was plenty of stoppage with extracurricular activities happening all throughout game four.

Russell is averaging 21 points, 11 rebounds, and eight assists during the postseason for Oklahoma City. Though he is only shooting 36 percent from the floor, and just 21 percent from three-point territory.

With no more discipline coming down on Westbrook from the NBA, the Thunder will need a lot more from Westbrook if they have any chance in getting back into this series.

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NBA apparently reviewing if Russell Westbrook should be suspended for Game 5

It may be nothing but apparently the NBA is reviewing whether or not Russell Westbrook stepped on the court with or without the official’s permission in the moments where Westbrook and Rudy Gobert exchanged words.

During the exchange, Gobert was hit with a technical as he was upset already by Westbrook and the shot from Raymond Felton on the foul.

According to Andy Larsen of KSL.com:

A pool reporter request to the game officials to ask them about the play was initiated, but the NBA indicated that the officials wouldn’t comment on the matter because it would be reviewed by the league’s disciplinary committee.

This isn’t high school. Players rarely come on the court without official’s approval. Especially with the NBA’s rule on leaving the bench being an automatic suspension, it would be highly unlikely Westbrook would step on the court without being told to do so.

If the NBA reviews and finds out Westbrook stepped on the court and had words with Gobert, Westbrook would be suspended for Game 5. Which would be an absolute nightmare for Thunder fans. Being without the MVP for potentially their final game fo the season.

It would be the epitome of the season.

The NBA is most likely going to review the video and determine nothing happened with Westbrook and this will be an afterthought.

If you see the video, Westbrook is near half court when the interaction between and Gobert. So, I seriously doubt Westbrook rushed out to half court to approach Gobert. Though, we only have this vide and the NBA has many more angles. There were three play-by-play sets and three sets of cameras. So, they may be able to make more of a determination on what would happen.

The NBA will most likely only say something if Westbrook is suspended. If nothing happened, we’re probably not going to hear that.

Game 5 is set for 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 25 at Chesapeake Energy Arena. The game will be on Fox Sports Oklahoma and on NBATV.

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Jazz 113, Thunder 96: What they said after Game 4

The Oklahoma City Thunder got smashed in the mouth, and let their emotions distract them from being able to even the series back up at two apiece versus the Utah Jazz. Utah took a commanding 3-1 series lead.

The Thunder let the Jazz get in their heads early, and it affected their play all night long. Utah was able to stay together as a unit, and never let Oklahoma City take advantage of any kind of lead they had.

Thunder shot 39% from the floor, and hit just five of their 26 attempts from deep. Ingles and the Jazz were able to take advantage by being able to hit 12 three-pointers.

Here are some key quotes from the teams, on tonight’s Game 4:

Utah’s Quin Snyder”

“All year one of the things we wanted to do collectively is try to generate open shots. You’re not always going to make them, but we want to keep taking them, and, you know, eventually you’re going to make some. We hit some timely ones in the second half. I think Our defense was able to be solid enough, to give us the opportunity to get some more.”

Utah’s Derrick Favors:

“It was a physical game, but we stayed with it, stayed together as a team and kept level-headed. We kept playing hard and kept getting stops. We are a mentally strong team and made sure we had each others back, and got the win.”

Utah’s Donovan Mitchell:

We stayed within ourselves. We always say the strength of our team is our team. I said this morning, we not really worried about one individual comment and think if we get caught up in that, it takes us out of our own game. Our play showed tonight that we were just focused on each other, and making the right play when we needed to.”

Utah’s Ricky Rubio:

Yeah, I mean this is playoff. It is going to be war for seven games. You got to win four, and we know there is going to be another war next game. We know we got to be tough, and mentally ready for that. We are not backing down, when it is game time we know we have to be ready for it, and respond.”

Oklahoma City’s Billy Donovan:

“I think when [Westbrook] probably picked up his third, I talked to him I think it was maybe, five or six minutes to go in the second. To your point, we were playing pretty good basketball, and I trust him in that situation. I told him you got to make sure you don’t pick up a silly one here. Would’ve liked to get him off the floor at a minute or so, as I was communicating with him. But he had that offensive foul and it probably at that point in time, took his aggressiveness away on defense.”

Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook:

It wasn’t about me or [Ricky Rubio]. Lets get passed that.”

“We just missing some open shots as well, they get some open ones and making them right now. We are going to keep creating, getting shots for each other, and go from there.”

Oklahoma City’s Paul George:
It is just playoff basketball. It’s going to get chippy, physical, you know we in there for a fight.”

“Play like we played in game 1. You know, there just making tough shots and making big plays. You know, as [Carmelo] said, game 5 is obviously a must win. But at this point, you know us three this is what we want. Not necessarily be in this position, but to, you know at this point give it all we got. That is all it is going to take, approach this game like it’s game seven and see what happens there, to keep this playoff run alive.”

Oklahoma City’s Carmelo Anthony:

“Well, tried to stay engaged in the game. You know, offensively, try to still take those shots. That is something you cannot control, whether the ball go in or not. I think for the most part, just continue to stay engaged for the whole game on both ends of the court and not just worry about if your making shots or missing shots.”

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Game 2 Injury report

With Game 2 only hours away, the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz will throw down. If Oklahoma City wins, they take a commanding 2-0 series lead into Salt Lake City. If Utah wins, the series becomes even once again.

All of that aside, the most important thing is the injuries! Oklahoma City has a couple of issues and so does Utah. So, let’s examine them.

JAZZ

Donovan Mitchell

The rookie sensation hurt his toe in Game 1. He went back to the locker room in real pain. However, he returned, hit some shots, and made a run of it. The x-rays were negative for any fracture or break but there is still obvious pain.

“I’m real determined on playing but if my body can’t, I’m not going to push it now and not be available the rest of the series,” Mitchell said. “I think it’s a matter of being smart with it.”

With is career ahead of him and the constant misdiagnosing of team physicians, it’s not a complete surprise if Mitchell was to sit out today. He has his entire career ahead of him. A loss this season isn’t going ot kill any chance of them winning a ring. They weren’t winning one anyway, even if they beat Oklahoma City in this series.

Probability of playing: 90%

Thabo Sefolosha

The beloved former Thunder player has become a staple in the Jazz lineup before getting hurt. Sefolosha underwent surgery on his right MCL in mid-January, with this news being the first update on his recovery process. His timetable puts his return to full form sometime in the summer.

On top of the MCL injury, Sefolosha has been suspended for five games due to a violation of the NBA’s anti-drug program, according to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports.

OUT

THUNDER

Andre Roberson

Roberson’s patellar tendon tore on January 27 and he’s been out ever since. There’s no hope of him coming back this season. Despite the photos of him taking set shots and all of that, he’s not coming back this season. He’s done. We do miss him though. Miss you Dre Dre

OUT

Corey Brewer

Brewer sprained his knee nailing a three over the very bad Memphis Grizzlies on April 11. There was hope it was only a sprain and not anything more serious. He played in Game 1, saying he was 80 percent. That’s good, as it’s been an entire week now since he sprained his knee. Plenty of time for Brewer to rest.

Probability of playing: 100 percent

Paul George

George was diagnosed with a hip contusion late in his nuclear performance in Game 1’s win over Utah. “Playoff P” had 36 points and powered Oklahoma City to victory. George, obviously hobbled by the hip, really hasn’t practiced and wasn’t made available to the media this afternoon for shoot around due to getting treatment. Don’t think that’s going to hold him out.

“It’s the playoffs, I don’t miss playoff games,” George said.

Probability of playing: 100 percent

 

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Westbrook and George don’t condone Davis’ comments

There has been a lot said about what Brian Davis said on Wednesday night. He’s since apoligized and has been suspended for Game 1 against Utah.

many have asked what the players think about and they said on Saturday at practice is that Davis’ remarks aren’t okay

 

“Brian has been here for a while. What he said wasn’t okay,” Westbrook said.” We all understand that.

Davis spoke to the team on thursday after practice, addressing the error of his words.

“It is with great remorse and humility that I accept this suspension for the insensitive words I used during Wednesday’s broadcast. While unintentional, I understand and acknowledge the gravity of the situation. I offer my sincere apology and realize that, while I committed a lapse in judgement, such mistakes come with consequences. This is an appropriate consequence for my actions.”

Davis, 62, has been the Thunder’s TV play-by-play voice since the Thunder’s inaugural season.

The NBA, a place of inclusion and diversity, should not have let this get as far down the road as has. We all have grown to know Davis well. We see him within the city and he’s polite and just so. We all know that he didn’t mean the comment the way it appears. Whether you may not find it offensive, many did. The The Thunder recognize that. However, the suspension is still a surprise to many.

“But he definitely came in and talked to us,” Westbrook said. “The team has made the decision to do what they need to do. We just have to move on from it.”

Paul George also wanted to move on from the situation.

“It happened,” George said. “He owned up. He took it head on. That’s for the front office and him to discuss. They did, so we move on. We move on. We got something bigger to focus on and be worried about. So again, it happened, but we’ll move on.”

Matt Pinto, the official radio voice of the Thunder, will take his place. The radio and TV feed will be simulcasted.

Oklahoma City takes on the Jazz at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.

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Thunder suspend Brian Davis for one game

It’s a surprising turn of events, the Thunder have suspended play-by-play man Brian Davis for Game 1 of the Western Conference first round against the Utah Jazz for comments made on Wednesday, April 11.

Many Oklahomans are upset by the even conversation of what Davis said, citing the innocence of the phrase.

Matt Pinto, the Thunder’s official radio play-by-play will step into his place.

Davis, 62, has been the Thunder’s TV play-by-play voice since the Thunder’s inaugural season.

The NBA, a place of inclusion and diversity, should not have let this get as far down the road as has. We all have grown to know Davis well. We see him within the city and he’s polite and just so. We all know that he didn’t mean the comment the way it appears. Whether you may not find it offensive, many did. The The Thunder recognize that. However, the suspension is still a surprise to many.

Dan Mahoney, the Thunder’s vice president of broadcasting, originally said it would be up to Davis to address the comments on air. However, that will now have to wait until Game 2 if that was to happen.

Davis met with players and then issued a statement through the team:

“It is with great remorse and humility that I accept this suspension for the insensitive words I used during Wednesday’s broadcast. While unintentional, I understand and acknowledge the gravity of the situation. I offer my sincere apology and realize that, while I committed a lapse in judgement, such mistakes come with consequences. This is an appropriate consequence for my actions.”

Oklahoma City is set to play the Utah Jazz in Game 1 of the Western Conference first round on Sunday, April 15 at 5:30 p.m. The broadcast can be seen on TNT and the Fox Sports Oklahoma.

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